2019 Okoboji Blue

Water Festival

Saturday, August 10

Cousteau to deliver keynote at festival

            Alexandra Cousteau, globally known water quality advocate and granddaughter of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, will deliver the keynote address at the Okoboji Blue Water Festival on August 10 in Preservation Plaza at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park.

            “This is a coup for the festival,” said event founder Greg Drees. “Alexandra’s mission fits our event’s focus perfectly, She will deliver a passionate speech. Anyone interested in water quality issues will not want to miss this.” 





    Our speaker is award-winning filmmaker, National Geographic Explorer, and global water advocate Alexandra Cousteau. Alexandra continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau Sr. by helping people throughout the world explore and value their everyday connections with our water planet. 

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers

and Dave Mason to perform at festival


         The signature clean water event in the Iowa Great Lakes this summer will culminate with another prestigious musical concert. Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers with support from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Dave Mason, will appear at the Okoboji Blue Water Festival on Saturday, August 10th in Preservation Plaza at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park.


            “We have delivered quality musical acts each year to the festival and bringing these outstanding artists to our stage this year will continue that commitment to excellence,” said festival chairman Greg Drees. “Hornsby has endured through the years as a first flight songwriter and musician. He and his full-band will fill the green space with memorable music. Mason hit scene in the ‘60s with Traffic and has enjoyed a phenomenal career over the decades. These dudes can certainly bring it."


           This free festival is a daylong celebration to raise public awareness of water quality issues in the Iowa Great Lakes and across the state. “It’s all about protecting and enhancing the water quality of our lakes, rivers and wetlands,” Drees said. "Clean water is the theme of the gala.”


           Bruce Hornsby's work displays a creative iconoclasm that's been a constant in the artist's two-and-a-half decade recording career. His commercial stock soared early on, when "The Way It Is" -- the title track of his 1986 debut album -- became one of the most popular songs on American radio. Despite his early mainstream successes, Hornsby has pursued a more personal, idiosyncratic musical path, focusing on projects that sparked his creative interest, including collaborations with the Grateful Dead, Spike Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Don Henley, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, Bela Fleck, Justin Vernon, Bonnie Raitt, Pat Metheny, and Robbie Robertson. Hornsby's performance will offer a glimpse of a restless spirit who continues to push forward into exciting new musical terrain.


           Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason has been performing live shows for over 50 years. What keeps audiences coming back year after year is his authentic approach to performing and the loyal presentation of his music. Mason often says, “There are no old songs, only good songs.” His love for the songs he works into his set list is evident, and his enthusiasm for music is contagious. Audiences always leave his shows upbeat, happy and inspired.


           In 2019, Dave Mason and his longtime band have been out on the road performing shows on Dave's "Feelin’ Alright" Tour and the "Rock & Soul Revue" tour featuring Dave and legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, also a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” Tour features all the classic songs fans love such as “Only You Know And I Know,” “We Just Disagree,” “Every Woman,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Rock & Roll Stew” and, of course, “Feelin’ Alright.” In addition, Dave performs a variety of songs that have inspired him over the years, as well as telling personal stories about rock music that only can be told by a man who has walked that historical path.


           Best known for his soulful voice and unsurpassed guitar playing, Dave was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of the group Traffic, and continues performing as a solo artist with sold-out shows all over the world. His career spans several important rock eras, and encompasses his work as a producer, performer, songwriter, and consummate guitarist. A quintessential ‘Artiste’, Dave has collaborated with numerous members of the music elite, including Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton among many others.


Greg Drees, Chairman 712-320-0610 or gdrees@q.com



Other Festival Highlights:

The play “Nature” to be performed at lakes festival


      The Okoboji Blue Water Festival, in conjunction with Iowa Lakeside Lab and Friends of Lakeside Lab, are pleased to bring the walking play “Nature” to the Iowa Great Lakes community this August. A professional ensemble of actors TigerLion Arts will perform the walking play on Saturday, August 10 in the Preservation Plaza green space as part of the festival.

     The play is grounded in the story of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and their mutual love of the natural world. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums and rich choral arrangements are woven into the experience.

     “Nature” was written by Minneapolis-based actor Tyson Forbes and director/producer Markell Kiefer. A community chorus and a local actress will take part in the production.

      The play will also be performed at Lakeside Lab on Thursday, August 8 and Friday, August 9 at 6 PM.

Fishing Seminar details set for fourth annual Okoboji Blue Water Festival


By Steve Weisman

            One of the many anticipated events of the fourth annual Okoboji Blue Water Festival scheduled for Saturday, August 10 is the fishing seminar. Scheduled for noon under the Big Tent at the northeast corner of Preservation Plaza, this year’s seminar can best be described as “Seeing is Believing!”

            Dan Spengler, senior bait development engineer for Pure Fishing will offer insight into the development process for Berkley hardbaits and terminal tackle such as jigs and how they are paired with Berkley’s soft baits. The seminar will provide information on product design, prototyping, lab and field testing, in addition to final product release to the anglers. Following the seminar, Spengler will invite those in attendance to join him at the dock on the shores of West Okoboji where he will offer presentation demonstrations for a variety Berkley lures.

            One of Spengler’s goals is to help those in attendance understand the hardbait design process. “First, I will give a little background about how I got into the industry. It’s hard to believe but since I was hired, I’ve worked directly on over 70 Berkley hardbaits. Just last year, we designed, developed and released over 20 hardbaits alone.”

These will be Spengler’s seminar topics:

  • Discuss behind-the-scenes steps in the concept and design process.

  • Shape development and prototype testing in the lab. During this process, top pro anglers are brought in for their input.

  • Field testing, taking the hardbait to the water. Testing in a variety of locations to determine if the product is right. Here, it all comes down to letting the fish tell the engineers if it is ready for market or not.

  • Discuss terminal tackle such as jigs and how they are paired with Berkley’s soft baits.

  • Seeing is believing! The final portion will be a how-to seminar, where Spengler will provide actual on-the-water casting techniques for fishing his favorite Berkley products.

“I am really looking forward to this opportunity. I hope that a lot of kids will

attend. One of my life-long goals is to get as many kids interested in the sport of fishing as possible,” adds Spengler.


      Spengler with a big nighttime walleye taken on a Berkley Shallow Cutter 90.

  •    Kids and Family Activities-

Fun, clean water themed activities for all ages.​